TALE OF THE TAPE:
Game: Edmonton Oilers (17-22-3) vs Florida Panthers (25-12-4)
Location: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta
Time: 7:30 PM MT
Where to find it: TV: Sportsnet One – Radio: 630 CHED
Edmonton Oilers Preview:
Tonight, the Oilers look to regain some confidence after losing 3-2 to the Edmonton Oilers.. er… Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.
However that may not be very easy as the team faces off against a Panthers team that has won a franchise record 11 straight wins – especially given the fact that the Panthers have allowed only eight goals in their past seven games, and only 14 during their 11 game win streak.
“[They’re a] big team, great goaltending, goals against is excellent, they don’t beat themselves, they manage the game properly,” said McLellan. “When you look at an interesting stat… look at their goals against per game, the numbers in their win streak…. A lot of their numbers match ours, except for goals against [and] five-on-five and we talked about that today.”
The Oilers are still trying to make ground in a slacking Pacific Division. Given that the team have played two more games than the Flames and Ducks, and three more games than the Sharks, every point is critical for the Edmonton Oilers moving forward.
After some recent struggles, the line of Benoit Pouliot, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle is finally starting to click once again. Eberle (2G, 2A) and RNH (3A) both are riding three game scoring streaks while Pouliot has four points (2G, 2A) in his last five games.
There is certainly a chance that the Oilers could come out the winner tonight as they have done so in eight of the last 10 matchups between the two teams.
Tonight, the Oilers need to key on the ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr who at the age of 43 leads all Panthers players with 30 points.
“[Jagr is] still [playing] at an elite level and you’ve got to respect it,” said Davidson. “He’s done a great job taking care of himself and making sure he’s been able to play so long, so it’s great to see guys like that who have the heart and the passion like that. He’s definitely going to be a challenge for us tonight — he’s a big body and is really strong on pucks.”
He has been an absolute catalyst for this squad. His veteran presence has been a welcome addition to a young group, and he has certainly helped expedite the development of linemates Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov.
An interesting side note, top 2014 draft picks Leon Draisaitl (3rd overall) and Aaron Ekblad (1st overall) face off against each other for the first time.
Florida practiced Saturday and will try to extend their franchise-record winning streak to 12 games. Al Montoya will start against the Oilers and Roberto Luongo, who has won a career-best nine games in a row, will be in net against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday, according to the Sun Sentinel. “I think we’ve been playing pretty good since Thanksgiving,” defenseman Brian Campbell told the Sun Sentinal. “… But we’re playing good hockey and we’ve been doing it for longer than these (11) games.” The Panthers continue a ix-game road trip with three games in four days in Canada. “We’ve had a good start to the road trip, but now the tough part comes. We won the first two on this road trip in Buffalo and Ottawa and now we’re in the western part of it and hopefully we continue to play well and get some wins,” coach Gerard Gallant told the Panthers website. – nhl.com
Line Combos and Starting Goalies c/o Left Wing Lock:
Oilers (Cam Talbot):
Taylor Hall – Leon Draisaitl – Teddy Purcell
Benoit Pouliot – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Matt Hendricks – Mark Letestu – Lauri Korpikoski
Rob Klinkhammer – Anton Lander – Iiro Pakarinen
Andrej Sekera – Mark Fayne
Darnell Nurse – Justin Schultz
Brandon Davidson – Eric Gryba
Panthers (Roberto Luongo):
Jonathan Huberdeau – Aleksander Barkov – Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen – Vincent Trocheck – Reilly Smith
Brandon Pirri – Nick Bjugstad – Logan Shaw
Corban Knight – Derek MacKenzie – Shawn Thornton
Willie Mitchell – Alex Petrovic
Aaron Ekblad – Dmitry Kulikov
Brian Campbell – Erik Gudbransson
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